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>> this is "bbc world news." funding for this presentation is made possible by... the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu... newman's own foundation... and union bank. >> at union bank, our
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relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the business strategies and opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> honduras is the world's most murderous nation. [speaks in spanish] >> someone dies a violent death every 74 minutes. [speaks in spanish] >> the capital of tegucigalpa is home to a unique organization. the people's funeral service helps poor families when they lose a loved one in a city where
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everyday killing is a fact of life. [indistinct talking] >> another day, another death. a community struggles to understand the killing of a young man, just one of 20 people who meet a violent end every day in honduras. ramon orlando varela was gunned down the day before as he dropped his children off at school. [indistinct talking] he was just 26 years old. [horns honk]
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ramon's funeral has been funded by the people's funeral service, set up by the mayor of tegucigalpa. nilvia castillo is in charge. [speaking in spanish]
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>> and it's certainly in demand. in honduras, a toxic mix of guns, gangs, drugs, and corruption has engendered the highest homicide rate in the world--over 80 times that of most european countries. [indistinct talking] the shade is welcome under a tropical sun. but this is no picnic. it's the city's morgue. and all of these people are waiting for the body of a loved one to be released for burial. [speaking in spanish] johnny and his colleagues from the people's funeral service are here often. most of those brought in have died a violent death somewhere in tegucigalpa.
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there's no shortage of them. [speaking in spanish] >> this couple are waiting for news about the remains of a brother-in-law. they say he was shot in a dispute with a neighbor and died this morning in hospital. it's another example of the everyday incidents of gun violence in honduras, where nearly 3/4 of a million firearms are illegally owned. [speaking in spanish] >> "stay strong," says johnny. "god will help you." [speaking in spanish] >> the people's funeral service doesn't just help the families of victims of violence. and at the funeral home, the man who set up the organization is visiting. the mayor of tegucigalpa is the president of the ruling party. nilvia, teasing me, calls him richard gere, and he certainly has a celebrity-like aura as he greets and comforts the mourners.
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this is a wake for santas leondarda viadares. consoling her mother, the mayor learns she died from complications in hospital. she was just 51 and used to sell sweets on the steps of a local church. poor families like this one made an impression on the mayor back in 2005. >> i was running for mayor, and one day, i encountered a little kid crying in front of his door of his house. and i went to him and asked him, "what happened?" "my mother left me." i asked the neighbor what was going on. he told me is that she took her television set to a pawn shop in order to get some money to put his father to rest and get the coffin, get the things. and then, i said, "this is something that is happening every day in the capital. we have to do something about it." and that day, i started promoting that if i became mayor, we would have funeral homes in order to give dignity
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to the poorest people of the city. [indistinct talking] >> and in a culture where community ties are strong, that may mean taking everything needed for a wake into one of the poor barrios of tegucigalpa. with an empty coffin on board, the pickup heads off to the morgue to collect the body of a young gunshot victim. we joined them later as his family take him home. we're heading north now behind the funeral services pickup truck. it's got a coffin on board of this young man. as you come north out of the city, the scenery begins to change. it
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becomes much poorer, lots of single story breeze block houses. [indistinct talking] >> the body in the coffin is that of ramon orlando varela. [woman weeping and wailing] [indistinct talking] >> we hear ramon's mother before we see her. [crying] [speaking in spanish] [weeping] >> it was just yesterday her son was murdered. his partner erica was with him. [speaking in spanish] >> do you have any idea who might be responsible for this? [speaking in spanish]
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>> friends and family will keep a vigil here through the night. in the morning, we'll meet them at the cemetery for ramon's burial. we've come back to the funeral home here, and we find another wake going on. this is another young man, emilio mare, who's 19 years old, apparently killed in a drive-by shooting. he wasn't the only one to die. somebody else died with him. i ask emilio mare's uncle, jose avelino, if these kinds of killings happen often in the area where he lives. [speaking in spanish]
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>> and what's it like living with that kind of fear every day of your life? [speaking in spanish]
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[indistinct background chatter] >> it isn't only poor people who are being killed in honduras. the campus of the national university of tegucigalpa feels very different to the poor barrios of the capital. the students relaxing here with their friends could be anywhere. but these young people aren't safe, either. last year in october, honduras was shocked at the killings of two students, allegedly at the hands of the police. the mother of one of the victims, julieta castellanos, is a rector of the university. her son alejandro and his friend carlos were shot as they drove home from a night out. [speaking in spanish]
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>> there was a huge reaction from the honduras people when this happened to carlos and rafal alejandro, wasn't there? tell us a bit about that. [speaking in spanish]
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[indistinct talking] >> so far, no officer's been charged in relation to these killings, but they did put police reform right at the top of the political agenda in honduras. >> that is the case-- [indistinct]. it's one of hundreds. and for a long time, a lot of us working human rights have said, you know, no one can do this, no one can come into the communities armed like this, hunt young people down and kill them. no one can do this except police officers. >> i asked the mayor of tegucigalpa what the national government is doing about police reform. >> we have to purify the police the fastest as possible. but without this motivating the other, good police, it's not going to be easy. there's too many interests. there's too many links between police and other-- and crime and other things. so
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you have to take it in a way that the people who are doing it don't lose their lives because they're doing it. i mean, there's something that needs to be done. everybody's conscious about it. the government is conscious about it. i'm conscious about it. you have to do it the right way in order don't hit you back stronger than what we're having the problem right now. >> cleaning up the police is critical. the capital's many small business owners feel vulnerable, as if they have no protection. one young honduran, who wants to remain anonymous, tells us what happened at his parents' restaurant last year. >> some person came in. they were a civilian who were dressing as policemen. they hit two clients. one of them died, and the other one, he survived, but he has some problem in the leg. i tell you, one of them was captured, like, a month later, and he was actually a policeman in service. >> he was a policeman in service?
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>> yeah. and he was-- >> but he came in his uniform? >> yeah, in the uniform. you don't know if you can trust in the police or in the-- >> and so, how does that make you feel, as a young honduran? >> hopeless. hopeless. honduras is really a nice country, and we have really a nice people here, hardworking people. but the situation that is going right now here is really a difficult one. my parents, they have speak to me. after i finish college. they will send me. 2 or 3 years more, and i'll be gone. my sister this year, she's leaving to panama. my brother, maybe in 5 years, he is moving to panama. >> but they want to keep you safe? >> they want me to go out of honduras because the situation here is getting worse every day. we can't trust anybody here. only family. >> you look really depressed, actually, as you're telling me this story. >> yeah. and now, you open a newspaper, and it's like,
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death everywhere. >> tegucigalpa looks almost tranquil from up here, the highest point overlooking the city. but at street level, beneath the embrace of the giant christ figure, extreme levels of violence have become endemic. [gunfire] in 2009, a military coup against president manuel zelaya sparked a wave of political killings. [indistinct shouting] >> but the murder rate had already begun to rise rapidly. in fact, it's doubled since 2005. many blame mexico's drug war, which forced the cartels down into central america. around 80% of cocaine-smuggling flights from the south now touch down in honduras before moving
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to markets in the united states and europe. >> you have a country in which corruption is deeply set at all levels. then, you have--this is corruption, on one hand, and then, you have drug-related gangs as well involved and getting into police and the military. and then, to have a coup d'etat that tells the military and the police that it's absolutely ok to go above the law, to break the laws, whichever law it is. and you have the situation where we are right now. it's not new. this is not caused by the coup. but it has been worse by the coup. [speaking in spanish] >> radio globo is firmly identified with the anti-coup political opposition in honduras. its journalists follow a radical agenda. the on-air talk is of land rights, corruption, and the links between the authorities and violent crime. [speaking in spanish]
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>> but talk comes at a price. gilda silverstrucci is one of radio globo's presenters, and she's a journalist under threat. [speaking in spanish] [indistinct talking] >> 23 honduran journalists have been murdered since 2010.
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assassins have also killed lawyers, lesbian and gay campaigners, and political activists. the people's funeral service sees only victims who are poor, its simple humanity providing dignity amidst

BBC World News America
PBS October 9, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT

News/Business. U.S.-targeted nightly newscast. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Honduras 12, Ramon 3, Barrios 2, Johnny 2, Emilio Mare 2, Us 2, Ramon Orlando Varela 2, Panama 2, Carlos 2, Manuel Zelaya 1, Alejandro 1, Newman 1, Nilvia Castillo 1, Santas Leondarda Viadares 1, Gilda Silverstrucci 1, Richard Gere 1, Julieta Castellanos 1, Erica 1, Rafal Alejandro 1, Avelino 1
Network PBS
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in Annapolis, MD, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 123 (789 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 1920
Pixel height 1080
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

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